The Corner

Belgian Politician Unhappy with New Overlords

Open Europe has the details

Not everyone in the newly formed (and long awaited) Belgian government seems to be happy with the new supervisory powers the European Commission has gained under the “Six-Pack” on economic governance.

As we reported here, Belgium was forced to withhold €1.3 billion of planned spending in its 2012 budget, after the Commission said that Belgium’s estimates of its public deficit (2.8% of GDP at the end of this year) were “too optimistic.”

Well, this is what Belgian Enterprise Minister Paul Magnette had to say about that (from today’s interview with Flemish Belgian newspaper De Morgen),

“The Commission is today going too far with its measures. Who knows [EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner] Olli Rehn? Who has ever seen Olli Rehn’s face? Who knows where he comes from and what he has done? Nobody. Yet he tells us how we should conduct economic policy. Europe has no democratic legitimacy to do this.”

For a Belgian to grumble about, uh, Brussels in this way is quite something.

Open Europe wonders “what would happen if similar ‘recommendations’ were made to France and/or Germany.”

That’s a good question, not least because of the way that those two countries trampled on the original Maastricht rules designed to maintain some sort of financial discipline within the Eurozone. And it’s a question that goes a long way to explaining why the markets have so little faith in the new and improved Eurozone now being promoted by Merkel and Sarkozy.

And what happens if the ”debtors,” the voters of Greece, say, or, more dangerously still, Italy, decide that such “recommendations” are no longer for them?


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